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How Rangers’ Kai Kennedy approval was key to Ben Williamson joining Raith Rovers

Williamson signs
Williamson signs

John McGlynn believes Raith Rovers’ rapport with Rangers helped seal the deal for Ibrox starlet Ben Williamson.

The 20-year-old has joined the Fifers on loan until the end of the season, having been recalled from an unsuccessful stint at Livingston during the first half of the campaign.

Williamson played just seven times for the Lions and was dismissed on his final appearance for the club, a 1-1 draw against Dundee United in October.

As Rangers sought a more beneficial destination for the Scotland under-21 internationalist, Rovers fit the bill for the Light Blues.

And Raith boss McGlynn reckons that can be attributed to the style of football at Stark’s Park and how they treated Gers starlet Kai Kennedy last term.

Kennedy in action against Dunfermline for Raith Rovers

“Rangers were very complimentary to us last season after the work we did with Kai,” McGlynn told Courier Sport.

“They came and watched Kai consistently and the reports we got back were not only about the way we treated Kai, but the style of football we were trying to implement.

“That is very much the style of football Rangers want their players to be involved with. They couldn’t speak highly enough about that.

“So, when we went to speak to them about Ben in December, they were really in favour of that happening.”

Drive

As well as suiting Rangers, the move certainly benefits Raith Rovers.

Williamson has already proved he can be a standout in the Championship, winning Arbroath’s young player of the year award following his stint at Gayfield last term.

His drive and physicality will be invaluable, particularly in light of the tireless Dylan Tait officially departing for Hibernian following Sunday’s fixture against Dunfermline.

Williamson battles Lille wonder-kid Amadou Onana

“Ben is still a young boy but he is a very physical player and I think that’s something we require,” continued McGlynn. “We need that energy and drive that Ben brings.

“The boys have had a great season so far, but I can see that we need something extra. I’m excited to get the chance to work with Ben. He did very well with Arbroath last season and caught our eye.”

£7.5 million man

Williamson also impressed McGlynn on Scotland under-21 duty in November as he pressed and pestered Belgium captain Amadou Onana, a £7.5m summer signing by Lille who played all six Champions League group stages games for the French side.

“I watched him at Tannadice when he was up against the captain of the Belgium team [Onana] and he gave him a really hard time,” added McGlynn. “So, he can do that too: carry out a job on an opposition danger-man.

“I really am delighted and we are grateful to Rangers for their cooperation.”

McGlynn added: “That’s two [signings] with Ben and Sam Stanton and we are looking to get another one in at least. Maybe, with a bit of luck, two.”

Both Williamson and Stanton are expected to be in Rovers’ match-day squad to face Dunfermline on Sunday.

Sam Stanton dreaming of replicating Dundee United wonder-strike when Raith Rovers host Dunfermline

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